The Morning Report
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You’ll remember I did some follow up theorizing last week about the apparent reason for Council President Scott Peters’ decision to delay the implementation of the ban on Wal-Mart Superstores that Peters supported.

As a follow up, I checked with Peters’ office, which is not denying that he is intentionally delaying the ordinance in order to prevent Wal-Mart from mounting a referendum against the ban. If Peters delays putting the final reading of the ordinance on the City Council’s agenda, the deadline to force a special election in 2007 will have passed. Any referendum after that would have to wait until the regularly scheduled election in 2008.

Peters’ spokeswoman Pam Hardy said he wanted to delay and prevent the special election because of the financial cost holding such a referendum would inflict on the financially challenged city.

Hardy said that in 2005, the special election held to replace former Mayor Dick Murphy cost the city $2.2 million. Wal-Mart and critics of the ban on the company’s planned Superstores can just wait until the regularly scheduled election in 2008.

“If there are indeed enough people who want to see this ordinance put to voters, they will have the chance,” Hardy said.

But there’s a twist to this.

I’ve been hearing rumors that the Legislature is once again thinking about moving up the presidential primary.

Right now, as things stand, California is scheduled to weigh in on who should run for president from both parties in June 2008. That’s, obviously, unfortunate for us. By that time, the Democrats and Republicans will have certainly decided in spirit, if not in actual numbers, which candidates will run for president.

And, given the fact that California is pretty reliably Democratic, we’ll be lucky to see many candidates pass through here at all. I suppose it could be worse. We could be in Salt Lake City, for example. At least here, the sun and sand make San Diego a more attractive place to visit.

Anyway, I’ve been calling around to see if I could confirm the rumor that disgruntled Californians with enough power to change things might push to hold a special statewide presidential primary in February 2008.

If that happens, Wal-Mart and other local referendumists can get their measures on that ballot as well.

I’ve been leaving messages all afternoon with state officials and Legislators, but nobody’s working today. I called the County Registrar of Voters, whose office is running. A representative called back to say that she had heard the same kind of rumors but that they were proceeding as normal.

Stay tuned.

SCOTT LEWIS

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